Developing user-driven engagement in public information campaigns: lessons from practice

Lachlan MacKinnon, Liz Bacon, Avgoustinos Filippoupolitis, Adam Koslowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The provision of public information campaigns commenced in the early eighteenth century, and over the ensuing three centuries of mass media campaigning they have evolved into two specific types of campaign, referred to in contemporary literature as information campaigns, which are seen as unidirectional broadcasting of information to either a targeted audience or the public in general, and communication campaigns, which are more participative in nature and seek to establish some form of dialogue with the public. However, whilst there can be no doubt that engaging in dialogue with individual members of society is likely to have the greatest impact in achieving the behavioural change sought by such campaigns, there is a growing resistance to their intrusiveness. The authors ran a large European survey on public awareness of the actions to be taken in the event of a natural disaster, the services available to provide support, and intention to engage in preparation for such events. This demonstrated a significant percentage of respondents were unwilling to engage in any form of preparation, which, combined with the resistance to engage with communication campaigns, highlights a growing problem. This paper considers some of the lessons learned from a number of public communication campaigns run by the authors, using MOOC technology and their own Pandora+ cloud-based training system, which highlight a number of issues in developing effective public information campaigns using digital media. A framework is then described that sets out a communication model offering minimal intrusion and ephemeral engagement at the outset, with the potential for greater levels of engagement driven by user wish, while still capturing relevant analytic data on the subject of the campaign.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2018
EditorsEunice Ivala
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218913
ISBN (Print)9781911218906
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event13th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2018 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 5 Jul 20186 Jul 2018

Publication series

PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
ISSN (Print)2048-8882


Conference13th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2018
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • Public information campaigns
  • User-driven engagement
  • population disaster awareness and preparation
  • Behavioural change


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